Athearn Mikado Steam Engine

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by George E, Oct 28, 2003.

  1. George E

    George E New Member

    Okay, boy, was I stupid! I clipped off the cable to the DCC chip in my Athearn Mikado Steamer. Of course, it won't run now. I will never ever have DCC. How can an old Tech II power pack guy make this engine run again? Any ideas?
  2. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Is there any part of the cable left? If there is, connect the red wire to the orange wire, and the black wire to the gray wire. This should get the engine running. The White, and blue wires are the headlight. You would probably have to use a dropping resistor in order to hook the headlight up.
  3. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    The most direct route is to...

    solder the cable back together...

    That wasn't a DCC decoder, it was just a tiny circuit board with a couple of diodes on it to control the directional lighting.

    The cable runs from the cab to the tender and has a plug to attach to a tiny circuit board.

    For DCC, you would unplug the tiny circuit board from the cable and plug the cable into the DCC decoder.

    The tiny circuit board or the DCC decoder fits into the slot under the tender.

    I hate to say this, because I will sound snooty, but, read the manual... There should be a wiring schematic to show you which wire does what.

    So you could either, repair the cable or else, you could join the motor wires together and the wires for the lights together and then be able to run the locomotive with the lights on all the time.

    Another way, is to open the whole locomotive up, and rewire the whole thing. You could then add the directional lighting and even give it a constant lighting circuit.

    Lastly, never say never...

    DCC isn't as scary as you may think... And like any other electronics, they are getting cheaper and easier all the time.

    I'm on another list with a group who are using Radio Shack R/C cars with proportional speed control to convert their Bachmann On30 Shays and Porters to battery operated R/C control.

    No more Track wiring for these guys!

    So I think that I will likely skip DCC and go directly to R/C myself...
  4. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Goat, Would you please give me the addy on that R/C group. That sounds interesting. Going to start some ON30 projects this winter. R/C would be neat. Thanks!
  5. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    The addy is...

    Hi Vic,

    It's a yahoo group with members mostly in Texas around the Dallas Ft. Worth area. They are building On30 Modules.

    The group I am talking about is the Texas OCMODS Group.

    They welcome folks from all around to check out what they are doing, as they prepare for the Dallas, Ft. Worth train show...

    Many of them are also members of the On30 Conspiracy list.
  6. George E

    George E New Member

    Thanks, guys

    Sumpter and Goat, thanks a lot. Great ideas, and no you were not snooty. I admitted I goofed big time! I had considered soldering wires together, but I appreciate your details.
    I've also heard of that r/c control idea, but for HO? Would that work? I'd really like to put wiring into the circular file, and that r/c stuff is cool and not that expensive. I think even a beginner like me could manage it. Anyway, thanks again.
  7. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    There's more than one way...

    There's more than one way to get R/C in your HO locomotives.

    Check out Aristocraft's Crest HO Train Engineer for starters.

    It is a complete system with a hand-held transmitter/Throttle. And the on-board receiver/decoder. You have the option of either on-board battery packs. (Usually contained in a boxcar pulled behind the engine) Or for the more daring, and/or for larger locomotives, you can put the batteries directly in the locomotive.

    Switching from standard rechargeable batteries, you could go with using tiny lithium batteries, like the kind used for cameras and/or hearing aids. They last a suprisingly long time and put out amount of juice for their size, but they aren't rechargeable.

    With the Aristocraft's Crest HO Train Engineer you also have the option of still drawing power from the rails. Just set your DC power supply to full power and let the Aristocraft's Crest HO Train Engineer do the rest. The only thing that you have to worry about is the dreaded reverse loops. Otherwise, it is supposed to be more reliable than regular DCC, because it isn't affected as much by dirty track, because it isn't getting the control sygnal from the rails.

    The only real drawback to the Aristocraft's Crest HO Train Engineer is that it doesn't support sound. The on-board receiver/decoder is all in one without contacts for attaching a sepirate sound decoder.

    There is another DCC company that is working on an R/C system.

    In this case, you have an R/C throttle and an R/C receiver on-board the locomotive. But in this case, it receives the sygnal, and then converts the sygnal to DCC. So, you would have the receiver, PLUS, a DCC decoder on-board the locomotive. This takes up a little more space, but it gives you the option of sound.

    This is being made by CVP who makes EasyDCC and Railcommand. They are calling the new R/C system the "AirWire 900". for more information on the "AirWire 900" look here.

    Lastly, there are the guys in Texas, that I mentioned earlier, who are kitbashing from R/C racecars.

    So there are a few R/C options, with a few more coming soon....
  8. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    And the price for all this???

    The price for the Aristocraft system is on par with a low-end/beginner's DCC System. Like Atlas's. The pricey part is the transmitter/throttle. But you only need one for each operator/engineer. The receiver/decoder's are on par with regular DCC decoders. The battery power is optional, as I mentioned before, so you can still draw power from the rails, and take your time upgrading to the rechargeable battery packs.

    The CVP system is much more expensive, and would be on par with NCE's DCC system. The loco's require a receiver and a DCC decoder...

    The R/C racer-bash is the price of the R/C racer. About $30-$60. But, you need a seperate throttle for each loco, unless you want to swap out the transmitter crystals constantly. And there isn't any support for making consists. They also operate on lower voltage, so you might not be able to pull larger/longer trains. This system appears to work well for small, slow moving, On30 locomotives that only pull very short trains, but might not work as well with long HO trains. Especially on grades...

    There are sure to be many more R/C options coming in the near future.

    Many model railroader's don't like wiring, even in the simpified word of DCC, so this may be the wave of the future...

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